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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou on farm policy
  • [02] FM: Athens won't bow to pressure
  • [03] Christofias on EU-Turkey relations

  • [01] Papandreou on farm policy

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday attended events in central Greece commemorating a brief farmers' uprising in the Thessaly region in the last century (1910), where he reiterated his party's proposals for the farm sector.

    Speaking to supporters at the Kileler monument, Papandreou reiterated promises of a 550-euro pension per month for an individual farmer and 950 euros for a retired couple previously active in the agricultural sector.

    Turning to criticism of the government, he cited what he called delays in payments for crop damages and delays in a local land reclamation/irrigation project.

    Moreover, he called for more responsibilities and related funding to be turned over to local governments.

    In a related development, PASOK's new party secretary, Yiannis Ragoussis, was quoted by an Athens daily on Sunday as saying that the further the party gets from the recent November leadership election the more the differences between it and other parties will appear.

    Asked to comment on the stance followed by the recently surging, in opinion polls, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Ragoussis merely said the latter has not yet unveiled its positions.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou speaks at an event on Sunday, 30 March 2008, commemorating a farmers' uprising in 1910 at the central Greece site of Kileler. ANA-MPA / VASSILIKI PASCHALI.

    [02] FM: Athens won't bow to pressure

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was quoted here on Sunday as reiterating that Athens will not be influenced by the short time remaining until this week's NATO summit in Bucharest in its positions regarding a mutually acceptable solution to the nagging "name issue" involving the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    "Pressure due to time constraints will not force us to accept proposals under the veil of ultimatums," Bakoyannis was quoted as saying in an article published by the "Ethnos" newspaper on Sunday.

    "We are in the middle of negotiations, which undoubtedly have watersheds. One such defining moment in negotiations is the Bucharest summit ? Greece does not, however, waver and does not exercise its foreign policy under deadlines placed by others," she added.

    The Greek FM also said that she believes UN mediator Matthew Nimetz may table a new proposal for a mutually acceptable solution, without however, ruling out the possibility of an intervention by the US president to achieve a breakthrough.

    Moreover, in answer to a press question, Bakoyannis reminded that Greece is a country "that does not accept orders or follows orders by anyone".

    In statements on the same issue but in a different Athens daily, Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis offered his view that there is enough time after the NATO summit to achieve a solution with the neighbouring, landlocked state.

    "(Prime Minister) Costas Karamanlis has emphasised that phony solutions will not be accepted," Meimarakis was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    "No solution to the 'name issue' means no invitation, as far as Greece is concerned," Meimarakis said, echoing repeated statements by Greek leadership over the recent period.

    Caption: Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis is shown in a file photo dated Thursday, March 13, 2008, at a EU summit in Brussels. ANA-MPA/ TATIANA BOLARI.

    [03] Christofias on EU-Turkey relations

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Sunday was quoted here as stressing that the European Union must become more exacting vis-à-vis the obligations assumed by EU candidate-state Turkey towards the Union.

    "Assessment of Turkey's accession course is a juncture that must be exploited in order to promote efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem," Christofias, the recently elected president of the island republic, was quoted as saying by the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Vima".

    Asked about "guarantees", the veteran Cypriot politician emphasised that the people of Cyprus "are mature enough so that they do not need guarantees and guarantors‚¶"

    "Besides, Cyprus' accession to the European Union is a major guarantee for not repeating the traumatic situations of the past, which hurt our people as a whole, or one or the other community. If the abolition of guarantees is unfeasible at present, we will at least insist on there not being any right by a guarantor power for unilateral intervention in the Republic of Cyprus' internal affairs," he said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

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